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turn his porteus and piel readily.' Which I speak member), after some reasoning we concluded both not to reprove any order either of apparel, or other what was in our opinion to be looked for at his hand, duty, that may be well and indifferently used ; but that would well and advisedly write an history. First to note the misery of that time, when the benefits point was, to write nothing false ; next, to be bold to provided for learning were so foully misused. say any truth : whereby is avoided two great faults
And what was the fruit of this seed ? Verily, judg. flattery and hatred. For which two points, Cæsar is ment in doctrine was wholly altered ; order in disci- read to his great praise ; and Jovius the Italian to pline very sore changed ; the love of good learning his just reproach. Then to mark diligently the causes, began suddenly to wax cold ; the knowledge of the counsels, acts, and issues, in all great attempts : and tongues (in spite of some that therein had flourished) in causes, what is just or unjust ; in counsels, what is was manifestly contemned: and so, the way of right purposed wisely or rashly ; in acts, what is done study purposely perverted; the choice of good authors, courageously or faintly ; and of every issue, to note of malice confounded ; old sophistry, I say not well, some general lesson of wisdom and wariness for like not old, but that new rotten sophistry, began to beard, matters in time to come, wherein Polybius in Greek, and shoulder logic in her own tongue : yea, I know and Philip Comines in French, have done the duties that heads were cast together, and counsel devised, of wise and worthy writers. Diligence also must be that Duns, with all the rabble of barbarous ques used in keeping truly the order of time, and describtionists, should have dispossessed of their place and ing lively both the site of places and nature of perroom, Aristotle, Plato, Tully, and Demosthenes, whom sons, not only for the outward shape of the body, but good M. Redman, and those two worthy stars of that also for the inward disposition of the mind, as Thucyuniversity, M. Cheke and M. Smith, with their scho- dides doth in many places very trimly; and Homer lars, had brought to flourish as notably in Cambridge, everywhere, and that always most excellently ; which as ever they did in Greece and in Italy; and for the observation is chiefly to be marked in him. “And our doctrine of those four, the four pillars of learning, Cam-Chaucer doth the same, very praiseworthily: mark bridge then giving no place to no university, neither him well, and confer him with any other that writeth in France, Spain, Germany, nor Italy. Also, in out- in our time in their proudest tongue, whosoever list. ward behaviour, then began simplicity in apparel to The style must be always plain and open ; yet some be laid aside, courtly gallantness to be taken up; time higher and lower, as matters do rise and fall. frugality in diet was privately misliked, town going to For if proper and natural words, in well-joined sengood cheer openly used; honest pastimes, joined with tences, do lively express the matter, be it troublesome, labour, left off in the fields ; unthrifty and idle games quiet, angry, or pleasant, a man shall think not to be haunted corners, and occupied the nights : contention reading, but present in doing of the same. And in youth nowhere for learning; factions in the elders herein Livy of all other in any tongue, by mine opieverywhere for trifles.
nion, carrieth away the praise. All which miseries at length, by God's providence, bad their end 16th November 1558.* Since which After the publication of Ascham's works, it time, the young spring hath shot up so fair as now became more usual for learned men to compose there be in Cambridge again many good plants. in English, more particularly when they aimed [Qualifications of an Historian.]
at influencing public opinion. But as religious
controversy was what then chiefly agitated the (From the Discourse on the Affairs of Germany. The writer minds of men, it follows that the great bulk of is addressing his friend John Astely.]
the English works of that age are now of little When you and I read Livy together (if you do re- | interest.
THE REIGNS OF ELIZABETH, JAMES I., AND CHARLES I. [1558 TO 1649.)
study of classical literature, the invention or print
ing, the freedom with which religion was disN the preced-cussed, together with the general substitution of ing sections, the the philosophy of Plato for that of Aristotle, had history of Eng. everywhere given activity and strength to the lish literature is minds of men. The immediate effects of these nobrought to a pe- velties upon English literature, were the enrichriod when its in- ment of the language, as already mentioned, by fancy may be said a great variety of words from the classic tongues, to cease, and its the establishment of better models of thought and manhood to com- style, and the allowance of greater freedom to the mence. In the fancy and powers of observation in the exercise earlier half of of the literary calling. Not only the Greek and the sixteenth cen- Roman writers, but those of modern Italy and tury, it was sen France, where letters experienced an earlier revival, sibly affected by were now translated into English, and being libea variety of in- rally diffused by the press, served to excite a taste fluences, which, for elegant reading in lower branches of society for an age be than had ever before felt the genial influence of fore, had operated letters. The dissemination of the Scriptures in
powerfully in ex- the vulgar tongue, while it greatly affected the panding the intellect of European nations. The language and ideas of the people, was also of no 1 Breviary. * The date of the accession of Quecn Elizabeth. I small avail in giving new direction to the thoughts
THOMAS SACK VILLE,
of literary men, to whom these antique Oriental com- that short period, we shall find the names of almost positions presented numberless incidents, images, all the very great men that this nation has ever proand sentiments, unknown before, and of the richest duced, the names of Shakspeare, and Bacon, and and most interesting kind.
Spenser, and Sydney, and Hooker, and Taylor, and Among other circumstances favourable to litera- Barrow, and Raleigh, and Napier, and Hobbes, and ture at this period, must be reckoned the encourage- many others; men, all of them, not merely of great ment given to it by Queen Elizabeth, who was herself talents and accomplishments, but of vast compass very learned and addicted to poetical composition, and reach of understanding, and of minds truly and had the art of filling her court with men qualified creative and original; not perfecting art by the to shine in almost every department of intellectual delicacy of their taste, or digesting knowledge by the exertion. Her successors, James and Charles, re- justness of their reasonings, but making vast and sembled her in some of these respects, and during substantial additions to the materials upon which their reigns, the impulse which she had given to taste and reason must hereafter be employed, and literature experienced rather an increase than a enlarging to an incredible and unparalleled extent decline. There was, indeed, something in the policy, both the stores and the resources of the human as well as in the personal character of all these sove- faculties.' reigns, which proved favourable to literature. The study of the belles lettres was in some measure identified with the courtly and arbitrary principles
In the reign of Elizabeth, some poetical names of of the time, not perhaps so much from any enlight- importance precede that of Spenser. The first is ened spirit in those who supported such principles, THOMAS SACKVILLE (1536-1608), ultimately Earl as from a desire of opposing the puritans, and other malcontents, whose religious doctrines taught them to despise some departments of elegant literature, and utterly to condemn others. There can be no doubt that the drama, for instance, chiefly owed that en. couragement which it received under Elizabeth and her successors, to a spirit of hostility to the puritans, who, not unjustly, repudiated it for its immorality. We must at the same time allow much to the influence which such a court as that of England, during these three reigns, was calculated to have among men of literary tendencies. Almost all the poets, and many of the other writers, were either courtiers themselves, or under the immediate protection of courtiers, and were constantly experiencing the smiles, and occasionally the solid benefactions, of royalty. Whatever, then, was refined, or gay, or sentimental, in this country and at this time, came with its full influence upon literature.
The works brought forth under these circumstances have been very aptly compared to the productions of a soil for the first time broken up, when
all indigenous plants spring up at once with a rank and irrepressible fertility, and display whatever is peculiar and excellent in their nature, on a scale the
Thomas Sackville. most conspicuous and magnificent.* The ability to of Dorset and Lord High Treasurer of England, and write having been, as it were, suddenly created, the who will again come before us in the character of a whole world of character, imagery, and sentiment, dramatic writer. In 1557, Sackville formed the deas well as of information and philosophy, lay ready sign of a poem, entitled The Mirrour for Magistrates, for the use of those who possessed the gift, and of which he wrote only the Induction, and one legend was appropriated accordingly. As might be ex- on the life of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. pected, where there was less rule of art than opu- In imitation of Dante and some other of his predelence of materials, the productions of these writers cessors, he lays the scene of his poem in the infernal are often deficient in taste, and contain much that regions, to which he descends under the guidance is totally aside from the purpose. To pursue the of an allegorical personage named Sorrow. It was simile above quoted, the crops are not so clean as if his object to make all the great persons of English they had been reared under systematic cultivation. history, from the Conquest downwards, pass here in On this account, the refined taste of the eighteenth review, and each tell his own story, as a warning to century condemned most of the productions of the existing statesmen ; but other duties compelled the sixteenth and seventeenth to oblivion, and it is only poet, after he had written what has been stated, to of late that they have once more obtained their de- break off, and cominit the completion of the work to served reputation. After every proper deduction two poets of inferior note, Richard Baldwyne and has been made, enough remains to fix this era as George Ferrers. The whole poem is one of a very by far the mightiest in the history of English lite- remarkable kind for the age, and the part executed rature, or indeed of human intellect and capacity. by Sackville exhibits in some parts à strength of There never was anything,' says the writer
above description and a power of drawing allegorical chaquoted, 'like the sixty or seventy years that elapsed racters, scarcely inferior to Spenser. from the middle of Elizabeth's reign, to the period of the Restoration. In point of real force and origi- [Allegorical characters from the Mirrour for Magistrates) nality of genius, neither the age of Pericles, nor the And first, within the porch and jaws of hell, age of Augustus, nor the times of Leo X., nor of Sat deep Remorse of conscience, all besprent Louis XIV., can come at all into comparison ; fur in With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and, cursing, nerer stent
With thoughtful care; as she that, all in vain, And next in order sad, Old-Age we found :
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind;
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground, Whirid on cach place, as place that vengeance To rest, when that the sisters had untwin'd
As on the place where nature him assign'd
His vital thread, and ended with their knife
The fleeting course of fast declining life :
And to be young again of Jove beseek!
But, an the cruel fates so fixed be
That time forepast cannot return again, And, next, within the entry of this lake,
This one request of Jove yet prayed he, Sat fell Revenge, gnashing her teeth for ire;
That, in such wither'd plight, and wretched pain, Devising means how she may vengeance take;
As eld, accompany'd with her loathsome train,
Had brought on him, all were it woe and grief
He might a while yet linger forth his life,
And not so soon descend into the pit; When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence,
Where Death, when he the mortal corpse hath slain, Had show'd herself, as next in order set,
With reckless hand in grave doth cover it: With trembling limbs we softly parted thence,
Thereafter never to enjoy again 'Till in our eyes another sight we met;
The gladsome light, but, in the ground ylain, When fro my heart a sigh forth with I fet,
In depth of darkness waste and wear to nought,
As he had ne'er into the world been brought :
But who had seen him sobbing how he stood
Unto himself, and how he would bemoan And eke his hands consumed to the bone;
His youth forepast-as though it wrought him good But, what his body was, I cannot say,
To talk of youth, all were his youth foregoneFor on his carcase raiment had he none,
He would have mused, and marvel'd much whereon Sare clouts and patches pieced one by one;
This wretched Age should life desire so fain, With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast,
And knows full well life doth but length his pain : His chief defence against the winter's blast:
Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed ; His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree, Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four ; Unless sometime some crumbs fell to his share, With old lame bones, that rattled by his side; Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,
His scalp all pil'd, and he with eld forelore, As on the which full daint’ly would he fare ;
His wither'd fist still knocking at death's door; His drink, the running stream, his cup, the bare Fumbling, and driveling, as he draws his breath ; Of his palm closed; his bed, the hard cold ground: For brief, the shape and messenger of Death. To this poor life was Misery ybound.
And fast by him pale Malady was placed :
Bereft of stomach, savour, and of taste,
ller breath corrupt; her keepers every one Of greedy Care, still brushing up the briers;
Abhorring her; her sickness past recure, His knuckles knob’d, his flesh deep dinted in, Detesting physic, and all physic's cure. With tawed hands, and hard ytanned skin:
But, oh, the doleful sight that then we see ! The morrow grey no sooner hath begun
We turn'd our look, and on the other side To spread his light e'en peeping in our eyes,
A grisly shape of Famine mought we see : But he is up, and to his work yrun ;
With greedy looks, and gaping mouth, that cried But let the night's black misty mantles rise,
And roard for meat, as she should there have died; And with foul dark never so much disguise
Her body thin and bare as any bone, The fair bright day, yet ceaseth he no while,
Whereto was left nought but the case alone.
And that, alas, was gnawen every where,
All full of holes; that I ne mought refrain
From tears, to see how she her arms could tear,
And with her teeth gnash on the bones in vain,
When, all for nought, she fain would so sustain Or whom she lifted up into the throne Of high renown, but, as a living death,
Her starven corpse, that rather seem'd a shade So dead alive, of life he drew the breath :
Than any substance of a creature made : The body's rest, the quiet of the heart,
Great was her force, whom stone-wall could not stay. The travel's case, the still night's feer was he, Her tearing nails snatching at all she saw ; And of our life in earth the better part;
With gaping jaws, that by no means ymay Riever of sight, and yet in whom we see
Be satisfy'd from hunger of her maw, Things of that [tyde) and oft that never be ; But cats herself as she that hath no law; Without respect, esteem[ing] equally
Gnawing, alas, her carcase all in vain, King Croesus' pomp and Irus' poverty.
Where you may count each sinew, bone, and vein.
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.
On her while we thus firmly fix'd our eyes,
latter, on her accession to the throne, rewarded him That bled for ruth of such a dreary sight,
with many favours. He must have been a man of Lo, suddenly she shriek'd in so huge wise
taste and refined feelings, as the following specimen As made hell gates to shiver with the might; of his poetry will suffice to show :Wherewith, a dart we saw, how it did light Right on her breast, and, therewithal, pale Death Sonnet made on Isabella Markham, when I first Enthirling it, to rieve her of her breath:
thought her fair, as she stood at the princess's window, And, by and by, a dumb dead corpse we saw,
in goodly attire, and talked to divers in the court-yard.
1564. Heavy, and cold, the shape of Death aright, That daunts all earthly creatures to his law,
Whence comes my love ? Oh heart, disclose; Against whose force in vain it is to fight;
It was from cheeks that shamed the rose, Ne peers, ne princes, nor no mortal wight,
From lips that spoil the ruby's praise, No towns, ne realms, cities, ne strongest tower,
From eyes that mock the diamond's blaze : But all, perforce, must yield unto his power :
Whence comes my woe? as freely own ; His dart, anon, out of the corpse he took,
Ah me! 'twas from a heart like stone. And in his hand (a dreadful sight to see)
The blushing cheek speaks modest mind, With great triumph eftsoons the same he shook,
The lips befitting words most kind, That most of all my fears affrayed me;
The eye does tempt to love's desire, His body dight with nought but bones, pardy;
And seems to say 'tis Cupid's fire ; The naked shape of man there saw I plain,
Yet all so fair but speak iny moan, All save the flesh, the sinew, and the vein.
Sith nought doth say the heart of stone. Lastly, stood War, in glittering arms yclad,
Why thus, my love, so kind bespeak With visage grim, stern look, and blackly hued :
Sweet eye, sweet lip, sweet blushing cheekIn his right hand a naked sword he had,
Yet not a heart to save my pain ; That to the hilts was all with blood imbrued;
Oh Venus, take thy gifts again !
Or make a heart that's like our own.
Sir PHILIP SIDNEY (1554-1586) takes his rank in Consum'd, destroy'd, wasted, and never ceas'd,
English literary history rather as a prose writer than "Till he their wealth, their name, and all oppress'd :
as a poet. His poetry, indeed, has long been laid His face forehew'd with wounds; and by his side aside on account of the cold and affected style in There hung his targe, with gashes deep and wide.
which he wrote. It has been justly remarked, that, if he had looked into his own noble heart, and
written directly from that, instead of from his some[Henry Duke of Buckingham in the Infernal Regions.] what too metaphysico-philosophical head, his poetry
would have been excellent.' Yet in some pieces he [The description of the Duke of Buckingham—the Bucking has fortunately failed in extinguishing the natural ham, it must be recollected, of Richard III.--has been much sentiment which inspired him. The following are admired, as an impersonation of extreme wretchedness.]
admired specimens of his sonnets :-
[Sonnets of Sir Philip Sidney.] Which of a duke had made him now her scorn ; Because I oft in dark abstracted guise With ghastly looks, as one in manner lorn,
Seem most alone in greatest company, Oft spread his arms, stretched hands he joins as fast, With dearth of words, or answers quite awry With rueful cheer, and vapoured eyes upcast. To them that would make speech of speech arise, His cloak he rent, his manly breast he beat ;
They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies, His hair all torn, about the place it lain :
That poison foul of bubbling Pride doth lio My heart so molt to see his grief so great,
So in my swelling breast, that only I As feelingly, methought, it dropped away :
Fawn on myself, and others do despise.
Yet Pride, I think, doth not my soul possess,
Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass :
But one worse fault Ambition I confess,
That makes me oft my best friends overpass, Thrice he began to tell his doleful tale,
Unseen, unheard, while thought to highest place And thrice the sighs did swallow up his voice; Bends all his powers, even unto Stella's grace. At each of which he shrieked so withal, As though the heavens ryved with the noise ;
With how sad steps, O Moon ! thou climb'st the skies, Till at the last, recovering of his voice,
How silently, and with how wan a face ! Supping the tears that all his breast berained,
What may it be, that even in heavenly place
That busy Archer his sharp arrows tries?
To me that feel the like thy state descries. Some pleasing amatory verses (exhibiting a re. Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me, markable polish for the time in which they were Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit ! writen) by John HARRINGTON (1534—1582) have Are beauties there as proud as here they be? been published in the Nugæ Antiqua. This poet Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet was imprisoned in the Tower by Queen Mary for Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess ! holding correspondence with Elizabeth, and the Do they call virtue there ungratefulness 1
Come, Sleep, O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
SIR WALTER RALEIGH-TIMOTHY KENDALNICHOLAS The haiting place of wit, the balm of woe,
BRETON-HENRY CONSTABLE, The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release, The indifferent judge between the high and low. Sir WALTER RALEIGH, to whose merits as a prose With shield of proof shield me from out the preasel writer justice is done in the sequel, deserves to be Of those fierce darts, Despair at me doth throw; ranked amongst the minor poets of Elizabeth's reign. O make in me those civil wars to cease :
Timothy KENDAL is only known for having pubI will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
lished, in 1577, a volume entitled Hours of Epigrams. Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed; NICHOLAS BRETON (1555-1624) wrote some pastoral A chamber, deaf to noise, and blind to light; poems, and a volume called the Works of a Young A rosy garland, and a weary head.
Wit. HENRY CONSTABLE was a popular writer of And if these things, as being thine by right,
sonnets, though strangely conceited and unnatural More not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me
in his style. In most of the works of these inferior Livelier than elsewhere Stella's image see
poets, happy thoughts and imagery may be found, Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
mixed up with affectations, forced analogies, and Guided so well, that I obtain'd the prize,
conceits. It is worthy of remark, that this was the Both by the judgment of the English eyes,
age when collections of fugitive and miscellaneous And of some sent from that sweet enemy France;
poems first became common. Several volumes of Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance ;
this kind, published in the reign of Elizabeth, conTownfolks my strength; a daintier judge applies
tain poetry of high merit, without any author's His praise to sleight which from good use doth rise ; Some lucky wits impute it but to chance ; Others, because of both sides I do take
The Country's Recreations. My blood from them who did excel in this,
(From a poem by Raleigh, bearing the above title, the following Think nature me a man of arms did make.
verses are extracted.] How far they shot awry! the true cause is, Stella look'd on, and from her heavenly face
Heart-tearing cares and quiv'ring fears, Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.
Anxious sighs, untimely tears,
Fly, fly to courts, In martial sports I had my cunning tried,
Fly to fond worldling's sports ; And yet to break more staves did me address;
Where strained sardonic smiles are glozing still, While with the people's shouts, I must confess,
And Grief is forced to laugh against her will ; Youth, luck, and praise, even fill'd my veins with
Where mirth's but mummery, pride.
And sorrows only real be. When Cupid, having me (his slave) descried Fly from our country pastimes, fly, In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
Sad troop of human misery ! "What now, Sir Fool,' said he, 'I would no less.
Come, serene looks, Look here, I say.' I look’d, and Stella spied,
Clear as the crystal brooks,
Or the pure azur’d heaven that smiles to see
Peace and a secure mind,
Which all men seek, we only find.
Abused mortals, did you know
Where joy, heart's ease, and comforts grow, Of all the kings that ever here did reign,
You'd scorn proud towers, Edward named Fourth as first in praise I name ;
And seek them in these bowers ; Not for his fair outside, nor well-lined brain,
Where winds perhaps our woods may sometimes shake, Although less gifts imp feathers oft on Fame: But blustering care could never tempest inake, Nor that he could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame
Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us,
Saving of fountains that glide by us.
Blest silent groves ! O may ye be
For ever mirth’s best nursery ! Though strongly hedg'u of bloody Lion's paws,
May pure contents That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid.
For ever pitch their tents Nor this, nor that, nor any such small cause- Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these But only for this worthy knight durst prove
mountains, To lose his crown, rather than fail his love.
And peace still slumber by these purling fountains,
Which we may every year. O happy Thames, that didst my Stella bear!
Find when we come a-fishing here.
[Farewell to Town, by Breton.]
Thou gallant court, to thee farewell!
For froward fortune me denies They did themselves (O sweetest prison) twine:
Now longer near to thec to dwell. And fain those Eol's youth there would their stay I must go live, I wot not where, Hare made ; but, forced by Nature still to fly,
Nor how to live when I come there. First did with puffing kiss those locks display.
And next, adieu you gallant dames, She, so dishevell’d, blush'd. From window i,
The chief of noble youth's delight ! With sight thereof, cried out, “O fair disgrace;
Untoward Fortune now so frames, Let Honour's self to thee grant highest place.'
That I am banish'd from your sight.
And, in your stcad, against my will,